PURLIEU, a word used of the outlying parts of a place or district, sometimes in a derogatory sense. It was a term of the old English forest law (q.v.), and meant, as defined by Manwood (Treatise of the Forest Laws), "a certain territory of ground adjoining unto the forest,. . .which. . .was once forest-land and afterwards disafforested by the perambulations made for the severing of the new forests from the old." The owner of freelands in the purlieu to the yearly value of forty shillings was known as a " purlieu-man " or " purley-man." There seems no doubt that "purlieu" or "purley" represents the AngloFrench purale, puralee (O. Fr. pouraler, puraler, to go through, Lat. perambulare) , a legal term meaning properly a perambulation to determine the boundaries of a manor, parish, etc.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)